Evo 2023: The biggest news and announcements

Evo 2023, aka the Evolution Championship Series, will bring the best-of-the-best fighting game players to Las Vegas this weekend for a three-day tournament. This year’s Evo promises to be its biggest, with nearly 15,000 registrants competing across the eight games featured in its main competition. More than 7,000 players are duking it out in Street Fighter 6 alone.

On top of being the preeminent fighting game tournament, Evo 2023 has also become a major news event. Publishers and developers like Capcom, Bandai Namco, NetherRealm Studios, and Arc System Works are expected to drop new game reveals, character announcements, and release dates at Evo. Some of those details will be unveiled at the daylong Evo 2023 Industry Showcase on Friday, Aug. 4, but publishers are also expected to drop news after (or during) various games’ finals events happening throughout the weekend.

Here’s everything announced so far at Evo 2023, and when you can expect reveals from Mortal Kombat 1, Street Fighter 6, Tekken 8, and Guilty Gear Strive. (You can check out the official Evo 2023 schedule at the tournament’s official website.)

Project L

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Riot Games’ fighting game based on the League of Legends franchise is playable at Evo 2023. On Friday, Riot revealed a new Champion who will appear on the Project L roster: Yasuo, the Unforgiven. He’s one of four playable characters featured in a demo at Evo.

Under Night In-Birth 2 Sys:Celes

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Arc System Works and Melty Blood developer French-Bread revealed their next game at Evo 2023 on Friday: Under Night In-Birth 2 Sys:Celes, the follow-up to the frequently updated 2012 original Under Night In-Birth. The 2D “light novel-style action” fighting game will be released in 2024 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC. The sequel will include rollback netcode for online play.

Here’s the official synopsis for Under Night In-Birth 2 Sys:Celes:

Players take the role of high school youth and story protagonist Hyde as he encounters the mysterious girl, Linne, prompting his inner EXS powers to suddenly awaken. The two band together in a grueling struggle to defeat the fearsome and so-called strongest user of all, Paradox. However, an enigmatic force known as Kuon the Aeon appears and crushes the two victors, proclaiming his advent of the world’s end. This leads to Linne’s disappearance where Hyde, now determined to save their world from Kuon, ventures alone into the Night…

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2

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Fair Play Labs and Ludosity’s 2021’s Super Smash Bros.-inspired fighting game is getting a sequel: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2. In a video presentation released at Evo, pro fighting game player and Super Smash Bros. champ Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma walked viewers through Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2’s new mechanics, including the sequel’s new controls and game-changing Slime Meter.

There was another reveal: Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants is coming to Brawl 2, outfitted with a mech suit/his computer wife Karen.

Killer Instinct

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Xbox Game Studios and developer Iron Galaxy are revisiting Killer Instinct, the 2013 Xbox One fighting game for a 10th anniversary update that will include “a balance update, improved matchmaking, and 4K support for Series X|S,” according to an announcement at Evo 2023. That balance update will at the very least address KI fighters like Eagle and Rash, and will arrive sometime this fall, according to Killer Instinct lead combat designer Adam Heart. Killer Instinct is currently available on Windows PC via Steam and on Xbox One and Xbox Series X, with a base free-to-play version available on console.

Mortal Kombat 1

NetherRealm Studios is expected to show off more characters and more gameplay from Mortal Kombat 1. Series co-creator Ed Boon has been teasing a Reptile reveal, but based on past trailers from the fighting game, multiple kombatants drawn from Mortal Kombat history will likely be revealed.

The developer didn’t drop anything after Friday night’s Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate finals, and told fans to hold tight for a reveal on Sunday.

Street Fighter 6

Capcom released the first add-on character for Street Fighter 6, Rashid, in July, just ahead of Evo 2023. We already know who’s next: newcomer AKI, who is slated for release sometime this fall. Beyond the mysterious Chinese fighter, Ed from Street Fighter 5 is set to return this winter, with venerable World Warrior Akuma pegged for a spring 2024 release. Street Fighter fans may have to patiently wait until Sunday night’s Street Fighter 6 finals for a look at new characters.

On Friday, Capcom gave fans a morsel of news, showing off new costumes for Street Fighter 6 characters Guile, Marisa, DeeJay, and Juri.

Tekken 8

Bandai Namco has said plenty about Tekken 8, confirming 16 fighters for the game’s roster and recently holding a closed network test. We’re still waiting on a release date for Tekken 8, which the Tekken Project team could finally reveal at Evo.

There’s a Tekken 8 panel happening Friday at 4 p.m. PDT, and the Tekken 7 finals start at 1 p.m. PDT on Sunday.

Guilty Gear Strive

Guilty Gear Strive is the second-biggest game at Evo 2023, with more than 2,400 registered fighters, and Arc System Works isn’t done with the game yet. Season 3 of Guilty Gear Strive is in the works, a “large-scale update” that promises to usher in “balance changes for the entire cast, new battle mechanics, and new special moves for some of the characters.”

Season 3 will also bring new characters to Guilty Gear Strive. The Strive finals kick off at 4 p.m. PDT on Sunday, so expect to hear more by then.